January 15 Day 15
How Then Shall We Live?
Devotions on Living a Deeper Christian Life
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
When Your Cross is Too Hard to Carry
Ever complain about your cross in life? A Christian once complained to God that his cross was too hard to carry and would prefer to have a different one. God took him to His storehouse of crosses and told him, “You are free to choose whatever cross you like.” The man walked around the vast storehouse and saw many different crosses. There was one that was golden and beautiful, but also very heavy. Another was light, but rugged, and was apt to wound one’s shoulder. He continued looking around the storehouse until he discovered in the corner, a cross, which he thought, would suit him. God granted his request and invited him to examine it more closely.
“Have a better look at it.” God said. The man looked back at the cross he had chosen only to realize it was the cross which he had originally received from God.
A cross is always difficult to bear in life and with closer examination, perfectly fitted for a particular Christian. Why does God allow such “crosses” in our lives? God uses the very crosses we carry in this life to teach us life lessons. I have cried out to God many times for Him to take away a particular cross in my life, only to realize later in life that He was teaching me something of far more value than I could understand or possibly bear at the time. Perhaps the answers too many of our questions are in the very cross that we carry today.
Edith Stein had been a secularized Jew in Germany during World War II, a woman whom Judaism meant nothing. When she became a Christian, she learned to value her Jewish heritage. As a Jewish Christian, she expressed her heartfelt desire in one sentence: “I wish to be a martyr for the church, for Carmel, my Jewish people, Germany, and all those whom God had given me.” Along with 987 other Jews, she was sent to Auschwitz death camp in 1942. She and three of her sisters were killed, among hundreds of others. Yet, through her cross, Edith had found the voice of her heritage, and her God.
Edith was said to have had two sayings that she often repeated during her difficult times: “God sometimes hides Himself from us in order that we might experience the joy of being found.” and, “Sober thinking is also an exquisite manner of worship.”
The cross you carry today may seem too difficult for you to carry, but by embracing it, you may find the very thing that has eluded you for most of your life. Through the path of the cross, you will come to experience the true image of God intervening in your life, just beyond your human perception. It is well for our souls to heed the words of the One who bore our shame on His cross, when He says to us “Take up your cross and follow me.”
Words to Think About…
<>–DO YOU WISH TO BE GREAT?–<>
Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being little. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundation of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. – Augustine
<>–HOW TO LOOK AT DIFFICULTIES–<>
“Victories hard won many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.” – C. H. Spurgeon
“His brow was crowned with thorns; do we then seek rosebuds for our crowning?” – Amy Carmichael